Pandemic forces retailers to innovate, adapt

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By: Business World

Tight consumer spending, faster e-commerce growth and the need for fast and reliable delivery amid a coronavirus pandemic has forced Philippine retailers to adapt and innovate, according to consulting firm Bain & Company.

Philippine retailers should work on social commerce and digital marketing to take advantage of such radical changes or so-called digital disruptions, Derek Keswakaroon, a partner at Bain & Company Bangkok, said in an e-mailed reply to questions.

But while technology is critical, it is not the be-all and end-all, he said. “It is important to recognize that while digital and technology will be a key driving force toward the future of retail, technology in itself is insufficient.”

He said Filipino retailers should reinvent their value proposition to put customer needs at the center of their operations.

“That might involve putting ultra-convenience at the heart of their offering in response to denser urbanization and the rise of time-poor dual-income households,” Bain & Company said in a report discussing the future of retail in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Keswakaroon said there would still be brick-and-mortar stores, but retailers should strengthen their assets and operations for the future.

“There is still a compelling role that physical stores can play,” he said. “The importance is taking a future back approach to optimally resize and respace the store network, and plan for the next generation of store formats, reflecting the changing role of stores,” he added.

In the report, Bain & Company said the Philippine retail industry barely experiences radical digital innovations and has a market that is less mature than in developed economies such as South Korea and Australia.


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